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Long-Term Learning vs. Last-Minute Cramming

Have you ever wondered what the key differences between long-term learning and last-minute cramming are? Looking to change up the way you approach your learning within Semester 2? If so, a brief outline is provided below for your benefit.

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Person studying at a computer, writing notes in a notepad. Text reads "Long-term learning vs last-mi

Have you ever wondered what the key differences between long-term learning and last-minute cramming are? Looking to change up the way you approach your learning within Semester 2? If so, a brief outline is provided below for your benefit.   

If you are a long-term learner, you may want to consider the advantages of implementing the ‘spacing effect’ into your learning! This can involve using apps that are able to have you rate the ability of your memorisation using flashcards, e.g., Easy, Difficult, could not answer, etc., and will space this out over different days. A variety of studies have shown this to be extremely effective in placing information in our long-term memory – a key difference between last-minute cramming where it stays only temporarily. Anki is shown to be good for those studying sciences, with Memrise proving beneficial for languages students. This method will allow you to specifically target weaknesses or gaps in your notes and knowledge. It does however require you to develop a daily routine for the benefits to work – it will save you time and allow you to relax a little more around exams.  

However, if you are familiar with last-minute cramming – such as a couple of hours or the night before an exam, it could be an idea to utilise a mnemonic technique. This could involve pinning your notes to specific rhymes or lyrics of a song or associating different rooms of your house or accommodation with different information – known as a memory palace. It has also been shown that there is NO benefit re-reading notes or information beforehand – instead, summarise the information into your own words. An extra tip would also to do some light exercise or a mini-workout; studies highlight that this increases the speed and efficiency of memory recall.  

Best of luck in your remaining exams! 

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